Denver Broncos (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (1-4 SU, 3-2 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 8:25PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN -3/SD +3
Over/Under Total: 45
The Denver Broncos come to Qualcomm Stadium for an AFC West battle with the San Diego Chargers on Thursday Night Football. Neither team was able to win in week five. The Broncos, with rookie Paxton Lynch making his first NFL start, were beaten 23-16 by the resurgent Falcons at home. They look to get back on the winning track against their longtime division rival Chargers. San Diego keeps inventing new and innovative ways to lose, when a bungled FG attempt late spoiled yet another possible win in a 34-31 loss to the Raiders on Sunday. Can they finally close out a game this week maybe?
One shouldnt get so caught up in Denver losing. First of all, the Falcons are pretty tricky; a diverse offensive team that can test even the most robust defenses. And Denver still allowed just 23 points to an Atlanta team that had been flying up and down the field in recent games. Looking back, with Trevor Siemian out of action, it was perhaps their time to hit a little lull. For a Super Bowl champion, they have still shown more urgency than most teams in that spot. Its just that it looks like it does actually matter who their QB is. And while Lynch is undeniably a quality NFL prospect, hes currently very raw and it was easy to see how Siemian had won the starting job.
Siemian was somewhat of a surprising late-week scratch, with the A.C. joint on his non-throwing shoulder still hurting from getting slammed to the turf a few weeks ago in Denvers win at Tampa. Before he was injured, he had started to become more comfortable and the Broncos turned him loose more, as he made an increased connection with his aerial crew. Without him, the Denver offense was lackluster to say the least, scoring a scant 3 points until the fourth quarter on Sunday. Two scores in the games final 2 and half minutes made it look closer than it really was. And with a first-time starter, thats a good time for the O-line to step up and they didnt really support Lynch. Vic Beasley alone had 3.5 sacks and the line was unable to spring anything resembling a solid run-game.
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The Denver defense was not at its best on Sunday, troubled by the Atlanta option approach. Then again, if allowing 23 points to a team that has been torching opponents is rock-bottom, theyll take it. Still, they were off-balance for most of the afternoon. Other than Von Miller and Shane Ray registering sacks, the defense wasnt able to make a great impact. They allowed big days to Tevin Coleman and Devonta Foreman. While Julio Jones, who had 300 yards receiving the previous week, was kept in check, Atlanta doesnt rely on any one person. Again, holding Atlanta to 372 yards and 2-for-12 on third downs is pretty good for what has been the low point for this defense.
The Chargers are a tough team in which to be a fan, throwing away 4 games that easily could have been wins. Granted, a bungled FG attempt only kept them from tying the game on Sunday, but it was just another bad development in season thats been packed with them. Perhaps it would be worse if they were just a bad team that lost games outright. But at 1-4, they have been in all these games. Theyve covered 3 out of 5 spreads and are pretty dangerous for a one-win team.
Against Oakland, it was a back and forth contest. Late in the third, it was 24-16 Chargers, but it quickly became 34-24 Oakland after the Raiders went on a spurt. San Diego responded in the 4th quarter on offense, which is a positive development. A touchdown and stop put them in a position to tie or win the game. The first problem was how they seemed to resign themselves to a FG attempt rather than really gun for the win. In FG position for a short kick, a few safe run plays ensued to set up the kick. After muffing a punt that put Oakland in great position, rookie punter Drew Kaser was unable to hold the snap and that was it.
Again, it spoils what could be a good conversation about all the good things the Chargers are doingnamely how Philip Rivers has kept this offense dangerous despite losing the bulk of their anticipated production. Melvin Gordon has yet to become the consistent producer in the backfield, but he is better this season and had a score on Sunday. Role receivers like Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin have both been forced to do more and both had 117 yards receiving on Sunday. The tight end duo of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry is shaping up nicely, though were starting to see the affects of age and wear on Gates.
The Chargers defense didnt shine against the Raiders in a tough road spot. They were effective in spots, but they sometimes allow quick bursts of points in a short period of time. They are more of an impact-making group than in years past, though injuries have robbed them of some of their venom. Top draft pick Joey Bosa showed his upside in his first game, registering two sacks, which is a very positive development on a D that hasnt had many this season.
This isnt really a great time for the short week for either team after punishing losses on Sunday. Which team can turn around and be ready for this matchup? Will the pass-rush for the Chargers start taking off this week and get to Siemian with that bum shoulder? Can the Chargers offense get off against a Denver D that will be looking to get back to its shutdown form of this season? Will late-game issues again poison the Chargers efforts? A lot of questions are abound and Im inclined to take the points with the Chargers at home on the short week.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the San Diego Chargers plus 3 points.
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